The Top 20 Craft Tequilas You’ve Overlooked

USA_Today_comIn early August of 2016, I received an email from USA Today asking me to weigh in on their craft spirits-themed Readers’ Choice contests, and in our case (at press time), the soon-to-be-launched craft tequilas list.

I’ll be honest, I dread these lists.  What’s worse is, I dread being asked to participate in compiling them.

Let me tell you why.

It’s A List

In the Digital Age, everyone wants things in bite sized form and they want it now.  It is also proven that numbered lists draw attention.  And, there are so many of them out there on the Interwebs–

Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover…

The 10 Best Ways to Cheat On Your Mate…

Six Ways Your Cat Plots to Kill You…

A Word About Your Sins

Ever wonder why those numbered titles are so enticing?7-deadly-sins

It’s because they are aimed at the 7 Deadly Sins.

A steadfast rule of copywriters is to compose content that elicits an emotional response from readers to take action.

To drive your particular sin even further to cause you to read the content, the word YOU is hammered into every title.

[Editor’s note:  See what I did with my title?  You choose which sin fits best for YOU.]

Craft Is A Buzzword

As we thoroughly examined in our reports, Craft Tequila:  WTF Does That Mean? Parts 1 and 2, the term craft has been kidnapped by marketers writing fancy copy to confuse the consumer.

Only 10?

gato sorprendido

While the instructions in the email required at least 20 selections from me, the contest will butcher the selections down to only 10–

Selected by those who are unaware of what a craft tequila really is, and…

Curated by someone whose job it is to find ways to engage USA Today’s readers.

It’s A Contest

check-list-red-wfjgrkbmmkvlWhen our COO, Lisa Pietsch, examined the contest website and the myriad of other pre-existing lists, she found that this is a clever way for USA Today to increase reader engagement.

Reader engagement translates to readers’ time spent on USA Today’s mammoth website, which in turn translates to money they charge advertisers.

The term we use is “sticky” as in spider’s web sticky.

Which leads me to–

Paid Advertisers 

Having been paid to ghost write Editor’s Choice lists in the past, I am fully aware that many times, spirits sponsors of major magazines and websites tend to sneak onto them.

This, despite my vehement objections to the editors that such a move invalidates the list altogether.

So, before any of the Usual Suspects wind up on USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards Craft Tequilas list, here are my selections.  Bear in mind, I was limited to only twenty brands.

The Top 20 Craft Tequilas You’ve Overlooked

In no particular order…

  1. Fortaleza
  2. T1 Tequila Uno
  3. Tears of Llorana
  4. Suerte
  5. Siembra Azul
  6. Siembra Valles
  7. Tapatio
  8. Tequila G4
  9. ArteNOM 1414
  10. ArteNOM 1580
  11. ArteNOM 1146
  12. ArteNOM 1549
  13. Trianon
  14. Pasote
  15. Embajador
  16. Alquimia
  17. DesMaDre
  18. Dulce Vida
  19. Don Fulano
  20. IXA

The Fallout

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Whether any of my selections make the cut, remains to be seen.

Depending on who the other “tequila experts” were that contributed to the final list to be voted on, the results, if nothing else, should be interesting.

One thing is for certain–

Not everyone will be happy.

Tequila Aficionado Media Announces the 2015 Brands Of Promise Award Winners!

Honors Bestowed During LIVE Blab Webcast

For Immediate Release!

PLATINUMFINAL2015March 14, 2016, San Antonio, TXTequila Aficionado Media’s Third Annual 2015 Brands Of Promise© Awards were broadcast LIVE on Blab in Tequila, Mezcal and other assorted agave-related categories. See the full list of medal recipients here.

Among the brilliant stand outs of 2015, Ambhar Tequila took the Judges’ Best-of-Show accolade scoring highly in several categories. Recent upstarts GOZA and Papa Bueno also made significant showings.  In a surprise return to the Brands Of Promise© Reposado class, Del Bravo Spirits unanimously took the Platinum award with Route 66 tequila.

Legacy brands Orendáin, Milagro, Tequila 1921, Centinela and Herradura were well represented in both the High-End and Value segments, while Dulce Vida and Suerte convincingly cornered the Extra Añejo tequila market.

In what proved to be the toughest bracket for the judges to date, Malinalli Tequila swept the Platinum trophy in the hard fought Blanco division, with Ambhar, El Mayor, and Mamalón tequilas close on its heels.

The surging Mezcal classification was dominated by the popular Gracias A Dios brand, while Montelobos and Amarás collected Golds in each of their groups.

Gold Medal Winner Lisa Elovich, brand owner of Organic Tequila One With Life, was ecstatic, saying, “Thank you so much! It is such an honor to get this award. I know this will help us with marketing and distribution.” She graciously added, “Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners! So happy to be part of it!”

In an equally gracious statement made over their Instagram account, medal recipient Papa Bueno Tequila wrote, “We are honored to have been among this impressive group of nominees! We love tequila and congratulate all the winners and thank Tequila Aficionado for the time, humor and love they bring! Definitely Bueno!”

About the Brands Of Promise Awards

All brands were judged by Founder, Alex Perez and CEO, M.A. “Mike” Morales, as well as by other Tequila Aficionado staff, on how they performed during Tequila Aficionado’s wildly popular Sipping Off The Cuff™ video series seen regularly on TequilaAficionado.com and viewable on its YouTube channel.

Unlike other spirits contests, The Brands Of Promise™ Awards does not require participating agave spirit brands to pay an entry fee.  It also does not charge winners additional hefty licensing tariffs for the rights to use the medal award graphics on their labels, neck tags, shelf talkers, brochures, point-of-sales materials and websites.

For a full list of Brands Of Promise© winners, click here.

 

 

To enter your tequila, mezcal, sotol, raicilla, bacanora or other agave spirit or related product in the coveted Brands Of Promise™ Awards, click here.

Corner Restaurant Fuels the Fire of Austin’s Craft Tequila Scene

[In mid-February 2016, at the suggestion of Andres Garcia, Regional Sales Manager of award winning Embajador tequila, Tequila Aficionado Media met with Brian Jaymont, General Manager of the Corner Restaurant, inside the JW Marriott in the heart of Austin, Texas.

We were first exposed to the fine hospitality of the JW Marriott on our second visit to the Texas Nightclub & Bar Alliance Convention.  The JW Marriott will again be the host hotel for the 2016 edition of TBNA, with the tasting event taking place at the famed Brazos Hall.]

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Local Flavor at Corner Restaurant

“Their braised short rib street tacos are to die for!” exclaimed Andres Garcia of Embajador tequila.

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Biting into the first of my three tacos, I wholeheartedly agreed.

Boasting a menu devised by celebrated Executive Chef Jennifer Etzkin, Corner’s fare is billed as “modern Texas cuisine served with an urban flair.”

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Featuring regional ingredients, coupled with stunning views and an inviting atmosphere, our lunch couldn’t have been better paired than with two Glencairn glasses of Embajador Platinum blanco.

In The Beginning…

20160211_140943Brian Jaymont, General Manager of Corner Restaurant, is a true tequila aficionado and student of agave spirits.  He is also well-versed in Texas micro-brewed beers, wines, whiskies and bourbons.

Along with the stellar tequila selection of the Corner, Brian’s also been responsible for the enviable tequila array at the JW Marriott’s San Antonio property, the Hill Country Resort & Spa’s Cibolo Moon tequila bar.

Below, Brian discusses how his passion for tequila and agave spirits began and eventually led him to do more in-depth research.  He also reveals how he’s been able to infuse that passion into the properties he’s worked in.

To date, Cibolo Moon is the only bar in Texas that is certified by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT) with a “Distintivo T.”  The entire staff has undergone thorough training, tasting and testing to achieve this certification.

Brian beams with pride as he describes the enthusiasm with which the entire staff at the JW Marriott’s Hill Country Resort & Spa’s Cibolo Moon embraced their Distintivo T training.

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At Brian’s insistence, plans are in the works for the staff at Corner Restaurant to also be “T” certified.

During his tenure, Jaymont was also involved in the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa’s famed Salúd tequila bar.

 Who Has the Best Toys?

Here, Jaymont describes the dynamics of Austin’s craft beverage scene and how he, the Corner Restaurant and Marriott are fueling the fire.

Geeking Out With Brian Jaymont

Brian shares his routine before choosing a new tequila and admits to personally using the NOM List as a way to find other tequilas to try.

What Bourbon, Wine and Tequila Have In Common

Brian asserts that there are hidden similarities to tequila that both bourbon and wine share.

A Blanco Guy

Brian Jaymont explains his personal preference for unaged, blanco tequilas.

Move Over, Bourbon!

Jaymont dissects the steady transformation of Austin’s bourbon-centric palates that are now drawn to Texas-based aged tequilas.

Micro-Local Focus

Brian defines Marriott’s “micro-local” focus highlighting Texas craft beers, wines, spirits, including tequilas.

The Corner proudly pours Austin-based tequilas, Embajador, Dulce Vida, Tequila 512, and more to come.

Glencairn–The Preferred Glass

Brian reveals why he chose Glencairn glasses to serve Corner’s tequilas.  No lime or salt needed–ever!

From Education to Enjoyment

How General Manager, Brian Jaymont motivates his staff to make sure the customer has a pleasant experience with the tequila’s available at the Corner Restaurant.

Supporting Local Businesses

Supporting Austin’s local micro-brewers, distillers, and brand owners to give the visiting tourist a memorable experience, and to keep Austinites coming back for more.

It’s refreshing to find a global hotel chain like the Marriott offer its guests a more local approach to their dining and drinking experience.

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Deciding where to spend your next Taco–or Tequila–Tuesday should be a cinch!

The BIG Business Of Kosher Tequila, Part IV

Why Go Kosher?

dulce vida, anejo, tequila, kosher tequilaThat’s what we asked several Kosher tequila and mezcal brand owners and ambassadors.  Some of their reasons may surprise you.

Richard Sorenson, Founder of Dulce Vida Tequila, the only 100 proof organic tequila to date, comes from an organic foods background having developed the first USDA organic energy drink on the market to gain national distribution.

“Kosher certification is not something we focus heavily on,” admits Sorenson.  Yet, in Dulce Vida’s case, it legitimizes and solidifies the company’s pledge to the consumer to be “authentic and pure.”  

In fact, Sorenson does not believe that “organic and kosher certification are mutually exclusive” and instead, go hand-in-hand.

Lisa Barlow, co-founder with her husband, John, of Vida Tequila.vida tequila, kosher tequila

“Kosher means ‘fit  or appropriate.’  Some people think that all tequila (blanco) is kosher.

“One thing we do, under kosher certification, is to use a kosher certified yeast for the fermentation process.  Not all brands do this. 

I love kosher law in general, and feel it’s been something I’m proud to say VIDA is.

“I know it’s trendy now to say you’re Kosher but for us it’s something we have been proud of since launching in 2007.  To me it shows we care about the quality of our 100% Agave Azul line of tequila.

“I’m proud our product carries the kosher logo.”

Camille Austin, brand ambassador for Montelobos mezcal–

“To be Kosher is to guarantee, in all aspects of production, that all standards of cleanliness which the Jewish religion requires are met. 

“This is an interesting subject I’ve touched with Ivan [Saldaña, developer of Montelobos mezcal] quite a bit, as well.  In mezcal production, as you know with its diversity, a number of things can be crucial elements to ensuring all requirements are fulfilled.

“For starters, guaranteeing there are no animal products (meats or insects) that contaminate the process. Therefore, a traditional Pechuga mezcal could not be considered Kosher.

“Another important element would be to ensure that all animals involved in production are treated with dignity and respect as is the case with our beloved mule Rambo, who pulls the Tahona to make the Montelobos mash.

“We thoroughly pick through all our raw material, the espadin [agave], one by one, and make sure there are no worms, beetles or other insects.

“Fermentation is key as not all yeast used to make agave spirits has a Kosher origin.  In the case of Montelobos, we ferment naturally in open air, without adding yeast, for a controlled period of no more than 7 days.

montelobos, kosher mezcal
The many facets of Montelobos mezcal.

“There are many organizations globally that are dedicated specifically to audits and certifications such as this.  At Casa Montelobos, we are certified and audited every few months through the OU, or Orthodox Union, based in New York City which is one of the most strict and internationally recognized Kosher organizations in the world.

“On the back label of each bottle you will find a big circled “U” identifiable with this organization.

“You could say that to be certified Kosher is to be disciplined, consistent and organized in your production process.  It is a demonstration to those, albeit those who enjoy your product as consumers or those who are your mezcalero piers, that you are an open book with how you make your product.

“At Montelobos, although a quite small production, we are very proud of the final product and are committed to maintaining the cleanest and most natural standards to make our mezcal.”

With help from Leyenda del Milagro’s brand ambassador, J.P. DeLoera,

Moises Guindi, co-founder of Milagro explains:

“As you may know, kosher certification is related to certifying that a product complies with a set of rules stated in the Jewish religion. 

“That said, Tequila in its essence and based on the laws that regulate tequila production (NOM) would be with some exceptions I will point out, Kosher.

“That said, in order for a product to be Kosher, it requires an audit to ensure it does not fall into the exceptions that would make it non-Kosher.

“These exceptions, in the case of tequila, would be related in adding additives or flavoring agents that may contain a non-kosher ingredient.  Other exceptions would be certain yeasts and the aging in barrels that contained non-kosher products beforehand such as Brandy or Wine.

“The Kosher certification also requires that there are no insects inside the bottles so quality controls to ensure this are required.

“On the  commercial side, being Kosher is an enabler for all those consumers being Jewish or not that are looking to buy products that do not contain any non kosher ingredients.”

From Cesar Barba, Production Planning and Warehouse Coordinator at Milagro’s distillery:

“As Moisés stated, Kosher is a certification to ensure the Jewish community that the production process is compliant with the Jewish religion.

“That being said, this certification is made annually by a certification house that sends a rabbi to make sure that the agave, the distillery, and the barrels (if used), are all Kosher compliant.

“The rabbi sent by the certification house is like an external auditor, so it varies depending on the auditors’ availability, hence why there is no particular rabbi coming to OPTE.  Also, there are some “surprise” visits during the year to make sure we are still Kosher compliant.

“We are certified with KMD, whose logo can be seen in the back label, but there several other certification houses and they are all recognized worldwide.

“The main advantage of being Kosher certified is that you can reach a very specific market niche.

milagro“Given the previous statements, we are Kosher because:

–       We are Kosher certified.

–       Our third-party distiller partner is Kosher certified.

–       We use Kosher certified products from non-animal origin during our production process.

–       Our barrels did not hold any non-Kosher products.

–       We have annual certification visits and one or two audits during each year, depending on the external auditor’s (rabbi) availability.

“Moy basically shared that one of the most important processes to scrutinize is fermentation, where producers may add non-kosher yeast and other additives i.e.:  urea.”

DeLoera concludes, “Finally, a neat story is that Danny and Moy are from different Jewish backgrounds.  Danny is from the Ashkenazi heritage, and Moy from the Sephardim heritage.

“Because Jewish weddings demand all products be Kosher, and Danny and Moy wanted Milagro at their weddings (of course!).  Initially Milagro was certified by agencies from each and both Jewish traditions.  Now it is a bit of good banter, and the one that stands is KMD, which is from the Sephardim tradition, and KMD is known to hold the strictest audits and standards.”

See The Miracle Men Behind Milagro Tequila videos here.

The BIG Business of Kosher Tequila, Part II

[An urgent text message about Kosher tequilas from an agave beverage manager at a thriving new bar in New York City, and the resulting questions raised from research into this misunderstood market from all points–tequila and mezcal brand owners, consumers, and rabbinical representatives of the Jewish faith–prompted me to finally discuss the positive, often flawed, and vastly under served kosher tequila and mezcal segments of the market.]

But first, if you’re a…

Tequila or Mezcal Brand Owner

…take a quick peek at Part 1, in case you’re still in the dark about what being kosher means.

Next, before you decide whether being certified kosher is the right move for your brand, here are a few things to consider.

Reliability

siembra_azulDoes the rabbinic field representative of the kosher certifying agency actually understand the tequila or mezcal making process?  Is this person willing to do his due diligence?  And, is he willing to be on-site and to participate at each stage of the certification process?

David Suro, importer and brand owner of the famed Siembra Spirits brands of tequila and mezcal, recalled only positive experiences with the rabbi who oversaw the kosher certification of the first batches of his tequila, Siembra Azul.

“The rabbi was thorough and always there,” recalls Suro.  “I was very comfortable with someone who cared that much.”

(Tequila Treasure Bottle Hunters take note:  Only the first three batches of Siembra Azul were ever designated kosher.)

Is It A Hassle?

Depending on the agency you use, your particular distillery, and if your processes and recipes are consistent, you may be subjected to only one on-site audit and subsequent annual fees to continue using the kosher seal.

Other agencies could require unannounced visits by rabbinical field representatives to determine if your brand should continue to carry its hechsher.

What About Going Organic?

dulce vida, tequila, reposadoRichard Sorenson, founder of Dulce Vida Tequila that is both organic and kosher, admits that the company tends to focus more on being certified organic, but doesn’t feel the two certifications “…are mutually exclusive, but go hand-in-hand.”

This helpful article on the EarthKosher website could help you weigh the differences and similarities of the two certifications.

What’s All This Gonna Cost?

Here’s where it gets sticky.

Depending on the brand’s (or distillery’s) needs, an approximate cost could range from $25,000 pesos ($1437.98) per year, to tens of thousands of dollars– per batch!

The price varies from business to business, and from industry to industry.  Your best bet is to get an on-site estimate from a respected agency and then determine…

What’s My ROI on Kosher Tequila? 

Baron-TequilaDepending on which estimates you believe, you could be missing out on your cut of a multi-billion dollar market.

With the spirits industry anxious to tap into Millennials, you might heed the words of Mordy Dicker, Executive Vice President of Business Development for KEDEM/Kayco, who was quoted in this 2015 Kosherfest press release, “‘People think positively about kosher food.  It’s become trendy.’  Dicker said millennials, vegetarians and people who are glucose intolerant can now find what they need in the kosher space.”

Perhaps they should be looking for your tequila or mezcal, as well?

***

If you’re a tequila or mezcal aficionado and want to “keep kosher,” or simply a consumer looking for new kosher sipping experiences to share with your friends and family, we’ll show you how in Part 3.

The BIG Business of Kosher Tequila, Part I

[An urgent text message about Kosher tequilas from an agave beverage manager at a thriving new bar in New York City, and the resulting questions raised from research into this misunderstood market from all points–tequila and mezcal brand owners, consumers, and rabbinical representatives of the Jewish faith–prompted me to finally discuss the positive, often flawed, and vastly under served kosher tequila and mezcal segments of the market.]

A Rant on Kosher Tequila…

For years, anyone who’s ever searched for a current list of kosher tequilas has no doubt been directed to the website of the largest regional Jewish Orthodox organization in North America, the Chicago Rabbinical Council (cRc).

Those same persons were tragically disheartened by the woefully meager list of kosher tequilas–and these days–unmentioned mezcals.  And of the brands that were listed, more often than not, were now, sadly, extinct.

This old, outdated, and unreliable list is not only supposed to be a guide to fully enjoy and appreciate the Jewish holidays and to help “keep kosher” year round, but it also serves Muslims, Seventh Day Adventists, Vegetarians, Vegans and even people who are lactose or glucose intolerant.

So…

What Exactly Is Kosher, Anyway?

kosher_def-filtered

For us gentiles (non-Jews), Kashrut is the set of Jewish religious dietary laws.  Food that may be consumed according to halakha (Jewish law) is deemed kosher meaning fit, and in this case, fit for eating or drinking.

In every case, approved products are given a hechsher, a rabbinical seal of approval, by a trusted and reputable kosher certifying agency that signifies the food or drink conforms to Jewish law.

Here’s a helpful Kosher glossary of terms.

quely-obtains-the-kosher-certificationHistorically, the practice of marking food as kashrut dates back as far as the Byzantine period (6th century CE) where Jews of a particular region in Israel stamped their bread dough with impressions of the Jewish Temple Menorah in order for consumers to verify its kashrut.

In 1911, soap manufacturer, Procter & Gamble became the first company to advertise a new product, Crisco, as kosher.  Over the next twenty years, companies with household names like Lender’s Bagels, Maxwell House, and Manischewitz grew the kosher market.  And who can forget that famous slogan for Hebrew National hotdogs?–“We answer to a Higher Authority.”

Decades later, kosher has come to symbolize both quality and value.  It has also become a very lucrative market according Menachem Lubinsky, founder of the annual two-day Kosherfest trade fair.  As of 2015, he estimates there are as many as 14 million kosher consumers that generate $40 billion in sales of kosher products in the US alone.

Other sources estimate that over $150 billion of kosher-certified products are consumed every year in the US.

Kosher Certifying Agencies

A kosher certification agency is an organization that bestows a hechsher to ingredients, packaged foods, beverages, and certain materials, as well as food-service providers and facilities in which kosher food is prepared or served.  This certification verifies that the ingredients, production methods, and/or food-service processes and utensils complies with the standards of kashrut.

To be certified requires periodic onsite visits, sometimes unannounced, by mashgichim (rabbinic field representatives) in order to verify ongoing compliance.

Today, the largest kosher certification agencies in the United States, known as the “Big Five,” certify more than 80 percent of the kosher food sold domestically.  These five agencies are: the OU, OK, Kof-K, Star-K, and cRc

most_commonK

Other respected kosher certifying agencies around the globe include:

EarthKosher based in Colorado, the logo of both the Johannesburg/Cape Town Beth Din used in South Africa, MK headquartered in Montreal, Canada, and The Kashrut Authority in Sydney, Australia.  Operating across six continents including the United Kingdom, KLBD, based in London, is the Kashrut Division of the London Beth Din.

By far, the greatest number of agencies seems to be in the USA.

Kashrus Magazine publishes a bi-annual guide to almost all kosher certifying agencies worldwide.  As with the tequila NOM lists, the number of agencies, just like the number of tequila brands and distilleries, fluctuates from year to year.  At press time, this number is between 1,151 to 1,253.

When In Mexico…

In Mexico and throughout Latin America, however, KA-Kosher  and Kosher Maguen David (KMD) rule the roost when it comes to certifying products as kosher.

KA Kosher, Kosher

As per KA-Kosher’s Facebook page:

“El sello KA KOSHER es el único en México aprobado por el Tribunal Rabínico de Israel.  Es el logo de la Comunidad Ashkenazí, el único en Latinoamérica aprobado por el Alto Tribunal Rabínico de Israel.  Bajo su sello se encuentran marcas como Nestlé, JUMEX, Del Monte, LALA y casi 500 empresas más.”

(“The KA-KOSHER seal is the only one in Mexico approved by the Rabbinical Tribunal of Israel [Chief Rabbinate Council of Israel].  It is the logo of the Ashkenazi community, the only one in Latin America approved by the High Rabbinical Tribunal of Israel [again, Chief Rabbinate Council of Israel].  Beneath its seal are such brands as Nestlé, JUMEX, Del Monte, LALA and almost 500 more companies.”)

KMD, kosher

KMD’s current website makes even bolder claims such as “Es la empresa líder en certificación kosher en Latinoamérica” (“The leading company in kosher certification in Latin America.”).

It also cites statistics that Mexico is the fourth largest kosher market behind Israel, the United States, and France, and that sales of kosher products, presumably in these countries, exceeds non-kosher sales by 20 percent.  KMD also states that 80 percent of kosher sales are to non-Jewish consumers.

KMD, stems from the Sephardic community of Jews and is known to follow the strictest codes and standards of kashrut, referred to as Mehadrin.

 Decisions, Decisions…

states, jewish

Similar to organic certifying agencies, having your tequila or mezcal brand approved as kosher requires that you hire one of these kosher certifying agencies.  Like buying a car, you don’t necessarily need to purchase one from a local dealership.

You can go anywhere in the world, but with so many certifying agencies and what seems like varying degrees of inspection, can you feel confident about purchasing their services?

Who Do You Trust?

If you’re a tequila or mezcal brand owner considering certification, we’ll offer some tips and steps you can take in Part 2.

Tequila Aficionado Media Celebrates Día de los Muertos 2015 On The Road

Announces Unprecedented Partnerships with Top Tequilas!

For Immediate Release!

August 26, 2015, San Antonio, TX:  Beginning October 14-28, 2015, Tequila Aficionado Media takes to the open road accompanied by top tier tequilas destined for the Windy City of Chicago to celebrate the popular Día de los Muertos remembrance holiday.

Palazzo

What began as a whimsical idea during a family RV vacation early in the spring of 2015, has turned into a monster tequila tour packed with stops at specially selected points-of-interest along the way, photo opportunities, and out-of-the-box social media marketing and promotion for tequila brands on a budget.

Initially scheduled for late August 2015, Lisa Pietsch, Tequila Aficionado mexican moonshine anejo, roger clyne, peacemakers, tequila,Media’s COO, admits that, “…the response from agave spirits brands was so overwhelmingly positive that we were compelled to move the tour dates to October to accommodate brands that wanted to come aboard.”

The change in tour dates notes M.A. “Mike” Morales, CEO of Tequila Aficionado Media, was fortunate for the participating tequila partners since, “…the end-of-year push for the spirits industry traditionally begins in October and lasts throughout the holiday season.”

Adds Pietsch, “Now, Día de los Muertos is an integral part of that celebration to Latinos and tequila aficionados alike.”

At press time, participating tequila brand partners are…

Currently, these tequila partners are scheduled to be featured on the following days of Tequila Aficionado’s Día de los Muertos Tequila Tour—

14-OctEmbajador Blanco
15-OctEmbajador Reposado
16-OctEmbajador Anejovarietals
17-OctLunazul Blanco
18-OctLunazul XAageGateImg
19-OctMalinalli Blanco
20-OctMalinalli Extra Anejomalinalli
21-OctTitanium Blanco

titanium, tequila, flight of sites, tequila aficionado

22-OctDulce Vida 5yr Extra AnejoDulce_Vida
23-OctRoute 66 Reposado

route-66-slide11

24-Oct1921 La Crema

la crema

25-OctDiva Blanco

diva

26-OctMexican Moonshine Blanco
27-OctMexican Moonshine Reposado
28-OctMexican Moonshine Anejo

mexican moonshine anejo, roger clyne, peacemakers, tequila,

As other interested agave spirits climb aboard Tequila Aficionado’s Día de los Muertos Tequila Tour, this list and the calendar of open slots will be updated.

tequila aficionado, dia de los muertos tour, rv trip 2015
Click on map to see full route in Google Maps

For all the details on the Día de los Muertos Tequila Tour and how your agave spirit will benefit with Tequila Aficionado Media’s powerful, exclusive, out-of-the-box (and affordable!) social media brand exposure, click here .

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Dulce Vida Extra Anejo Tequila Review

Mike and Alex taste and discuss the epic 5-year, extra anejo, from organic, overproof, Dulce Vida Tequila.

 

 

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Dulce Vida’s Extra Añejo is a celebratory Limited Edition rested for just over five years in single barrels from a respected Napa Valley winery. This unique craft approach is unmatched in the marketplace, creating a truly unique, complex extra añejo with the great characteristics expected of truly authentic, traditional Añejos. This Extra Añejo provides a soft nose, like a cognac or whiskey, and the full body of a 100 proof tequila.

This Limited Edition commemorates Dulce Vida’s five-year anniversary in the marketplace. Truly, an unrivaled fine sipping tequila.

Dulce Vida Tequilas sources its 100% organic agave from the Los Altos highlands in the Tequila region of Mexico. Because of the unique climatic characteristics and the air & soil, this area is well known for producing larger, fruitier agave, ideal for tequila. This organic agave ensures Dulce Vida makes tequila the way tequila has always tasted best: pure and powerful, free of any additives.

Dulce Vida produces the only 100° proof, 100% organic tequila in the world and has been nationally recognized as a brand rich in tequila heritage, earning top awards in numerous competitions. What sets Dulce Vida apart is a combination of product attributes, packaging, and taste profile – including Handcrafted Distillation, 100° Proof/Navy Strength, and Organics. 100° Proof provides Dulce Vida the purity, authenticity, and full agave taste that is the cornerstone of our brand. We make our tequila at 100° proof to fashion our spirit in an old-world means, cask-strength, the way spirits were enjoyed years ago.

The concept of sustainability was very strategic in the selection of our facility for tequila production.  The facility not only had to be capable of making a great product, with care and diligence meeting our specifications, but also had to meet requirements for organic production and overall measures of sustainability – being a kind partner to the environment and local community.  A complete recapture of all production waste is performed that yields a nutrient-rich soil supplement to the local farming community.  Furthermore, as a by-product of the waste collection & processing, methane gas is captured, creating an energy source utilized to power the facility.

San Antonio Cocktail Conference, Day #1 #SACC2015

#SACC2015, san antonio cocktail conference 2015

If you aren’t following us on Instagram, Twitter, Vine, or Facebook, then you’ve missed some great fun!  We’ve been at the San Antonio Cocktail Conference this week and posting as we go.  To track everybody’s fun, follow their hashtag #SACC2015.

Today, we’ll attend Mezcal, and Pairing seminars (Tex vs. Mex: Texas Flavors vs. Mexican Spirits & The Relativity of Flavor Pairing), interview a few people and then support our friends doing good work at the Tequila Interchange Project by covering the fun at Lucha Limon.  If you’re in San Antonio, stop by The Esquire Tavern at 155 East Commerce Street, San Antonio, TX 78205, for ¡Lucha Limón! from 3-5pm today.

¡Lucha Limón 2015! is Texas’ first introduction to this fast-paced, lime-squeezing competition to benefit the Tequila Interchange Project. Challenge your favorite bartenders’ chops at this most essential of bar tasks! $10 gets you entered into the competition, and the opportunity to win some great prizes including rare tequila & mezcal bottlings, gift certificates, and more!

Please join David Suro, Emilio Veyra, and Miguel Partida of Siembra Metl along with Judah Kuper and Aquilino Garcia Lopez of Mezcal Vago, following their SACC seminar. Swing by and meet 3 Master Mezcaleros from 3 different states, taste their art, and learn more about their work. This is a true honor to have these 3 Maestros in San Antonio! Please join us for this unique opportunity.

Cocktails & Tequila/Mezcal tastings for great prices!

TIP is a non-profit organization and consumer advocacy group comprised of bartenders, consultants, educators, researchers, consumers and agave-spirit enthusiasts. Our organization advocates the preservation of sustainable, traditional and quality practices in the industries of agave distilled spirits. In light of current trends that are becoming mainstays in the production of agave distillates, TIP seeks to place a renewed emphasis on the importance of preserving the great heritage of agave distillation in Mexico.

Here are some photos of what you might have missed:

Scotland vs. Mexico Parte Dos #SCOTLANDVSMEXICO

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The table setting at The Last Word on Houston St., San Antonio
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David & JP wove their spirits’ stories together, describing the many similarities.

In my opinion, this was a brilliant class.  You wouldn’t expect to find much in common when comparing Scotch Whisky and Tequila, but Juan Pablo De Loera of Milagro Tequila and David Allardice of Glenfiddich found too many commonalities to dismiss.  Their weaving of information about these spirits from Mexico and Scotland as they walked us through a comparison tasting was inspired.

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The lineup: Scotland vs. Mexico
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Our tasting table complete with the pre-tasting sweet potato empanada, the perfect palate reset before our tabletop travel.

glenfiddich-125th-anniversary-edition-mybottleshop

The big surprise during this tasting was the Glenfiddich 125th Anniversary Edition.  At first whif, you might think it is a Mezcal, but this smoky, smooth, sensuous Scotch had me at “Slainte”.  If you can get your hands on some of this, buy it – and guard it closely – this is definitely a keeper!

 

Ambhar Tequila Relaxation Lounge

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Bobby walked us through a flight of Ambhar. We were impressed with the juice as well as Bobby’s insistence that we have the proper glassware to taste it.

In the middle of a long day of drinking, one really needs a place to relax.

OK, maybe not, but we had a wonderful time talking to the folks at Ambhar Tequila and tasting their spirit in their very thoughtful “Relaxation Lounge”.

2015-01-16 15.40.14Ambhar is experiencing a bit of a rebirth since it’s purchase a little over a year ago and the team that they’ve assembled is energetic, enthusiastic, and really know they stuff!

 

 

 Waldorf on the Prairie

2015-01-16 19.15.312015-01-16 19.21.02As soon as we walked in the door of the St. Anthony Hotel, we were greeted with a delightful surprise!  Espadin and Tobala, Gracias a Dios!  Gracias a Dios Mezcal, that is.  We had a great time talking to their team and tasting their spirits.  Look for this brand in Texas now but we expect the world will be demanding it soon!

After a much needed break for some refreshing Voss water, we explored the many bars – there were too many to count – there at the St. Anthony Hotel.

Shaking it, Latin Style

2015-01-16 19.50.46Dulce Vida Tequila had the workingest mixologist behind their bar!  He was shaking up what looked to be some delicious palomas.  We didn’t have a chance to taste them because, as fast as he was mixing, he just couldn’t mix them fast enough for the crowd.  We shot this vine of how hard this fellow was working, so you can guess the line was pretty long for his drinks.

 

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Topping it all off, we allowed ourselves the luxury of a J.R. Ewing Bourbon, straight up.  As die-hard Dallas fans, we couldn’t miss the opportunity.  J.R. Ewing Bourbon was everything you’d expect from the man whose name it bears – smooth, a touch of sweetness, and a little heat that makes you want to dance with the devil all night long.

2015-01-16 20.25.11The band, The Nightowls from Austin, was rocking the house, so we did just that – we danced.

#SACC2015: A great time was had by all!